Midway starts working on development

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
March 11th, 2010

The Village of Midway unveiled their economic development and diversification plan on Monday, Mar. 8 at a community meeting. Completed by Diana Brooks, regional project manager for the Ministry for Community and Rural Development, the plan has been in the works over the last couple of years. The plan was initially developed by council, and then presented to village residents for feedback and revisions. Now its council’s task to get it started.

Mayor Randy Kappes said that since the decline of the forest industry in Midway, the village needed to decide what direction to take. “Along the process, one of our ideas was to take the airport and develop a community out of that,” said Kappes. “We kept running into problems getting support or understanding from outside the area. They just couldn’t understand who we are and what we were trying to attempt. We needed a plan, more than a business plan – a community plan.”

Kappes said that the airport initiative triggered the process and then Brooks offered to help the village develop the plan. “It’s been good at allowing council to understand each other and what exactly some of the buzzwords we throw around really mean – like eco, economic development, and all that fun stuff,” said Kappes.

The plan specifically identifies that the Village will: work to recruit industry in particular eco-industries, agriculture niche farming and value-added agriculture businesses, and develop the airport; attract visitors with events and outdoor recreation; support and attract entrepreneurs and small businesses; and create a vibrant and sustainable community.

After exploring their ideas council took the vision out to the community for their input at more than one consultation meeting that Kappes said were well attended. Kappes sees the plan as one of the solutions to the village’s ability to create some action for change. The council and staff of Midway will be responsible for the implementation of the plan over the next five years.

“Council has got its role in making sure that it (the plan) stays forefront in our minds when we’re making decisions and that we create the framework for it to happen. Staff will be responsible for implementing the actionable items,” said Kappes.

Some of the first initiatives for 2010 include: developing a strategy to attract value-added wood manufacturers, inventory industrial and commercial properties; identify eco and solar opportunities as well as hosting clean energy and bio-fuel information sessions; support regional agriculture initiatives; develop events, outdoor recreation and promote recreation facilities; and developing the Village’s website.

While the action items identified for 2010 seem ambitious, Kappes said that some of the work has already started including the posting of village signs, the website has been developed, and they are organizing a committee to update the site for the future.

Brooks will continue to support the Village in their work plan at the provincial level to present and champion the plan with different groups to assist in achieving their goals.

“We can only do so much for economic development,” said Kappes. “We can create the environment and hope that you’ll find the right person willing to come and do something. That’s what we’re trying to do.”


Midway Economic Development and Diversification Plan 

Categories: Politics